A few days ago we received an email from a new and enthusiastic fan of B&W, telling us we would be even more wonderful than we already are if we linked to Keith Burgess-Jackson at TechCentralStation. Err, thought I. I don’t much like TCS, though I have seen an occasional interesting article there, and I think finally linked to one. I did a N&C about this at some point – about the quandary of seeing an interesting and/or relevant article at a site which is so free markety-rightwing that I really hate to link to it even if I quite like a particular piece. It is a quandary. On the one hand if the article is good then the article is good. On the other hand, their agenda is not my agenda, and do I want to help them push theirs – no, not much. But then it’s our mission to try to disentangle truth claims from ideology. So I sighed and went to TCS to have a look at Burgess-Jackson.
Fortunately there was no quandary, I didn’t like his stuff at all. There may be some that’s good but what I saw was just snide and commonplace. So I answered our fan to that effect, and forgot about it. Until two days later, when I read this item at Crooked Timber. TCS is apparently not as forthright about its agenda and the funding behind it as it might be. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether that matters or not, whether readers can just judge the articles on their merits or not, whether we can all spot an agenda and be on our guard against it or not. Personally I don’t think it’s all that easy – I don’t think we can notice everything, and I’m pretty sure we can’t fact-check everything. At any rate, I’m glad I didn’t like Burgess-Jackson and didn’t bother to link to him. But the quandary will come up again, and again and again.